This Week in Travel News

Cinque Terre caps Number of Tourists per annum

Italy’s picturesque Cinque Terre, a group of five villages along the Ligurian Sea, is one of the country’s most popular sites—but now it might be a victim of its own popularity. Italian officials have announced that they will be taking measures to protect the cliffside villages’ delicate environments by capping the number of people who are allowed to visit. The maximum number of travelers permitted to visit will now be 1.5 million per year—a number that may seem high, but is well below the 2.5 million who visited in 2015. Local politicians cited cruise ships, which drop off large numbers of people at once, as one of the biggest sources of tourists. Starting this summer, those 1.5 million visitors will have to buy tickets ahead of time, and an app will show the most congested areas in real time.

EU Countries To Require Passport Checks
The AP is reporting that European Union countries are expected to toughen up on border checks. After more than 20 years of being able to travel across borders among Schengen Area member countries without a passport, travelers will now need to have the documents on hand, AP said. Because of the migration crisis in the region, EU nations will invoke an emergency rule to tighten up borders for two years, according to AP, which was given access to confidential EU documents on condition of anonymity. According to the documents, EU officials plan to declare that Greece is not protecting its border well enough, saying that about 2,000 people are arriving on Greek islands each day from Turkey. If you are planning to drive in the EU this summer, be prepared.

Egypt Brings In Security Experts To Ensure Visitor Safety

Authorities in Egypt have employed the services of an international security consultancy to assure visitor safety to the country. The move follows the downing of a Russian airline in October operated by budget carrier Metrojet that is understood to have been due to an act of terrorism. During the weekend Egypt announced it had brought in Control Risks, a global consulting firm specialising in political, security and integrity risk. Control Risks’ teams are already on the ground beginning their work, and building on the huge efforts undertaken by both the Egyptian authorities as well as International government security delegations.

New Zealand May Start Charging Foreign Tourists To Enter National Parks
International tourists may have to start paying to visit NZ national parks as the Department of Conservation struggles to cope with the tourism boom. Concern about pressures on conservation land from swelling international visitor numbers has prompted the Conservation Authority to start investigating “charging mechanisms” to pay for the increasing costs of handling those numbers. A total of 3.1 million tourists visited New Zealand last year, but the tourism sector predicted numbers to grow by nearly another million in about five years. More international tourists visiting the national parks mean increased costs for infrastructure, waste removal, cleaning campgrounds, and other expenses. Critical points included the Tongariro Crossing in the central North Island, Fox and Franz Josef glaciers on the West Coast, Aoraki/Mt Cook, and Milford Sound. The biggest single cost to NZ Parks, Great Walks and Milford Sound campsites is human waste. It is estimated that some 40 tons of human waste will have to be shifted at a cost of $100,000 by end of the season.”

Qatar Adding Two More Gateways To US
Qatar Airways will add two more new destinations in the US, Atlanta and Boston, raising the number of gateways to the country to 10, a senior official of the airline said. The airline will start service to Boston, Qatar’s ninth gateway to the US and the 10th destination will be Atlanta. Both services will commence by June. Qatar said when it hit 11 destinations they will increase frequencies to New York to double-daily services from once daily. Qatar operates direct flights to eight destinations in the US, including New York, Washington, Dallas, Huston, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Dubrovnik To Get New Multi-Use Cruise Facility

A new cruise terminal will be part of a major infrastructure development at Dubronvik’s Gruz Port. Global Port Holding and Bouygues Batiment International are working together to finance, build and operate a mixed-use infrastructure development. GPH is the world’s largest cruise port operator, with more than 5 million passengers to its ports worldwide. Bouygues is currently building a new airport in Zagreb opening in September 2016, four months ahead of schedule. The plan calls for a new cruise terminal, a shopping mall, a multi-story garage and a main city and international bus station built as a modern replica of Dubrovnik’s historical city centre, located at only few kilometers away. Dubrovnik Gruz Port is located 3km away from the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination in southern Croatia. On-site work is planned to start in September and October 2016 and to be completed before the end of 2018.

JetBlue And Seaborne Airlines Launch Codeshare Agreement Throughout The Caribbean
JetBlue and Seaborne Airlines have begun selling flights under a codeshare agreement that will offer customers increased travel options and new destinations throughout the Caribbean. Connections will be made via San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, where JetBlue is the largest carrier. Customers flying on JetBlue and Seaborne will enjoy the benefit of traveling on a single ticket which allows for one-stop check-in, baggage transfer to the final destination, and conveniently timed connections in San Juan. Initially, JetBlue will place its ‘B6’ designator code on eight Seaborne Airlines routes allowing JetBlue customers to reach more destinations in the Caribbean: Anguilla; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Dominica; Nevis; St. Kitts; St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.

Gatwick Unveils Premium Passport Control Service
London Gatwick has launched a Premium Passport Control service to “provide a swift arrivals process”. Use of the exclusive lane costs £12.50 per person and, to minimise waiting times, is limited to 50 passengers per hour. Anybody can use the service, which LGW has launched in conjunction with the UK Border Force, and not just business and first class passengers. It is available to EU and non-EU passengers from 0600 until 0000 daily, except on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Passengers must book online between three months and 24 hours in advance. Gatwick will opened its new North Terminal departures level this month.

US, Cuba To Sign Agreement On Restarting Commercial Flights
The United States and Cuba will sign an agreement next week to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades, starting the clock on dozens of new flights operating daily by next fall, U.S. officials said Friday. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is scheduled to fly to Havana on Tuesday to cement the deal. Under the deal U.S. airlines can start bidding on routes for as many as 110 U.S.-Cuba flights a day, more than five times the current number. Nearly 160,000 U.S. leisure travelers flew to Cuba last year, along with hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans visiting family, mostly on expensive, frequently chaotic charter flights out of Florida. US visitors to Cuba will still have to qualify under one of the travel categories legally authorized by the U.S. government. Tourism is still barred by law, but the number of legal reasons to go to Cuba, from organizing professional meetings to distributing information to Cubans, has grown so large and loosely enforced that the distinction from tourism has blurred significantly.

Uniworld Building New River Cruise Ship for France’s Seine River
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection will put a new “super ship,” Joie de Vivre, on the Seine River in 2017. Scheduled to debut March 2017, Joie de Vivre will carry 128 passengers and sail an itinerary that begins in Paris and encompasses trips to Monet’s garden in Giverny, Normandy beaches and Honfleur. The ship will be 125 meters (about 410 feet long) so it can dock directly in Paris, instead of outside the city. The ship’s decor, designed by sister company Red Carnation Hotels, will reflect a French aesthetic, with art and antiques sourced from Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The ship will have 54 standard cabins, eight Junior Suites and two Royal Suites. Restaurants will include Le Restaurant Pigalle and La Cave de Vins, a “vinoteque” for wine-pairing dinners. Le Club L’Esprit will have a movie theater and a hydraulic pool, which will be turned into a dance floor or outdoor movie theater at night. Uniworld is a luxury river cruise line; fares include airport transfers, gratuities on and off shore, port charges, unlimited wine, beer and spirits, shore excursions, butler service for suites, 24-hour room service and Wi-Fi.

Norwegian Air Adds Flights Between Fort Lauderdale And Paris

Norwegian announced plans Thursday to begin flying from Fort Lauderdale, New York and Los Angeles to France’s capital, a move it said signals its commitment to the U.S. market.

FAA, NTSB Issue Fresh Warnings On Lithium Batteries

In separate announcements, the FAA and NTSB reinforced warnings about the dangers of transporting lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries as bulk cargo in aircraft. The NTSB meanwhile issued two recommendations, one calling on the FAA to require that certain inflammable liquids be physically separated from bulk shipments of lithium cells and batteries, and setting maximum loading densities for both types of hazardous materials on the same or adjacent pallets.

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